3 of swords is a painful card, it gives that “twang” in your heart: loss, sorrow, mourning that loss. You know something painful has happened or surfaced from the past and that it needs to be cleansed. It is a wintery card: this needs being taken care of before you can go on. It is no use starting on new projects, just as it is no use to plant seeds in the winter. Whilst mourning your loss / feeling it, you can release yourself. It often indicates a whoooole lotta tears, cleansing goes hand in hand with tears. Tears are purification. There is no other way than to move through it, then you can let go. In this way, it is in an odd way a “fruitful” card: it allows you to move on.